What to Do When a New Job Isn't Living up to Your Expectations

Posted November 16 2022 By Ashlene McFadden

When you’re at the stage of being fed up with your current job, any prospective employer might seem like the dream. Perhaps they’ve spoken about more flexibility, a better benefits package, less stress or more pay.

But what happens when, in good faith, you embark on this new career only to discover that all was not as promised?

Perhaps what you were told during the hiring process hasn’t quite come to fruition as you expected it to.

It's a difficult situation. You've left your old employer on the promise of greener pastures, and with it not having worked out as expected, you're unsure of what options you now have.

Moving jobs doesn’t have to be a mistake that you regret for years on end.

Here are my tips for what you can do to improve a less-than-ideal employment situation at a new company.


Don't Blame Yourself

Firstly, the most important thing to do is to recognise that this isn't your fault. You haven't failed; you've been misled at best, and lied to at worst. It happens to more people than you may think.

To play devil's advocate, it could be that your new employer has simply been unable to keep to schedule with their growth plans or that whoever hired you enjoys a level of flexibility not afforded to your new role. Keeping a level head and being open to all possibilities for my further suggestions below is essential.


Not Enough Responsibility

If you've been in the role a little while and believe the responsibilities you've been given do not match your expectations from the job description or recruitment process, you should speak to your line manager.

Review your job description and compare your current work and responsibilities with it. This way, you can speak to your manager in a level way to point out the discrepancies without sounding angry or disappointed. Stick to the facts, and that way there is no room for disagreement.

If you haven't received a formal job description, you should request this, or try to find the one provided at the application/interview stages.

Be prepared to have honest conversations and be ready with suggestions for where you think you can take on more responsibility. If you're not already having regular reviews or one-to-ones with your manager, you could request that a periodic review is planned. If you have a review planned for the future, i.e. an annual review, don't be afraid to ask for an interim review.


Lack of Progression

A lack of progression can be a difficult issue to spot as you'll likely have needed to be in a role for a reasonable amount of time for this to become clear.

Again, refer to any material you have from the recruitment process or your onboarding. If benchmarks were set at any time, review them to see if these have been met. You should also ensure that you have been hitting your objectives, as this could be why there have not been more signs of progression.

If you're confident that you are meeting everything that's expected of you, then speak to your manager to have a review to set a career plan. Take some time to clearly set out your career aspirations and check they're in line with what was promised when you started with your employer.


Issues with Your Work-life Balance

If the issues you're experiencing are related to your work-life balance, you need to address this sooner rather than later. If you start to experience burnout or it's affecting your mental health, things will be much harder to rectify.

You need to set clear boundaries if more is asked of you than is realistic or reasonable. For instance, if you're regularly being contacted outside of working hours, it's not unreasonable for you to ask that this doesn't happen.

Again, refer back to your current responsibilities and demonstrate that they are all being completed during your contracted hours.


If All Else Fails

If you have tried all of the above and are still unable to rectify the issues with the role, then it could be time to look for a different position.

If you're thinking of approaching your old employer, take some time to reflect and remember why you left in the first place. As easy as it is to think the grass is always greener on the other side, it's just as easy to look to the past with rose-tinted glasses. If you weren't happy, think carefully about approaching them about returning.

If you're worried about having a role on your CV with a short service time, just be honest about your employment history. Explain that the role wasn't for you and the steps you took to resolve the situation. If anything, it may help you to gauge a new employer and let them know you're dedicated to meeting the demand of the new role.

The best option you have if looking for a new role is to speak to a recruiter for some guidance. We've seen this a hundred times. We'll help to match you with an employer that shares your values and ambition.

  If you'd like to discuss further or you're looking for a new Accountancy & Finance role, you can click here to get in touch with me.

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